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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on March 8th, 2024

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Building ADUs in Connecticut

Residential | Residential Remodeling

Finding proper housing in Connecticut is more challenging than ever. High prices, low inventory and soaring interest rates have made finding a home, or even an apartment, very difficult. For some families and some households, the solution to this problem is found in the backyard, in the form of an ADU. Not that long ago, very few communities would allow homeowners to build ADUs on their property. Today, ADUs are becoming almost commonplace. 

If you're considering ADU construction in Connecticut, you'll want to know more about the construction and permitting process, how to hire the contractor, and what's involved in building an ADU in your community. Here's what to know about building your own ADU on your property. 


What's An ADU?

ADU stands for accessory dwelling unit. An ADU is a second home built in the backyard or side yard on the same property with the primary home. ADUs can be up to 1,000 square feet and include a bathroom and full kitchen. To build an ADU, you need a special permit from your local permitting office

How is an ADU Different from an In-Law Apartment?

Although in-law apartments and ADUs may serve similar functions in some families, there are some notable differences between these two types of structures. An in-law apartment is usually a suite of rooms attached to the primary home on the lot. Generally speaking, an in-law apartment may have a bathroom but not a full kitchen, and compared to an ADU, in-law apartments are smaller. 

Why Build An ADU?

Usually, people who choose to build an ADU do so because of pre-existing circumstances that make the structure a practical solution to a problem. Some homeowners, for example, choose to build this kind of structure when they have an adult child living on the property. The ADU gives their adult child their own space to live, while providing convenience for both parties. ADUs allow multiple generations of families to live together affordably and comfortably on one property. 

Some people rent their ADUs to bring in extra income. If this is your reason for building an ADU, you'll need to research your community's ADU laws to find out under what circumstances an ADU can be a rental home in your area. 

How to Get Started with ADU Construction

Building an ADU is a time-consuming process that can take 6 months or more, depending on how quickly you move through each step of the process. If you're in a hurry, take an organized approach with a list of things to do to keep the project moving along. 

Do Your Research

Every community in Connecticut has its own set of laws about ADU construction. Whether you can rent an ADU to a non-family member, how big the ADU can be and other factors are all determined by your local permitting and zoning laws.

Before getting any farther in your project, start by finding out the laws in your area to determine whether an ADU constructed according to local permits will meet your needs. You can check with your local permitting office, or if you're not sure how, check with your local city hall. 

Find a Contractor

Finding the right contractor is the next step of the process. Look for a contractor with experience successfully building ADUs for other clients. Ask to see a portfolio and check references. Meet with multiple contractors before making your final decision. 

Design Build or Architect?

One question you may be faced with during the process is whether you need an architect or if a design build contractor is adequate for your project. Most homeowners are able to hire a design build contractor to complete the design for their ADU without involving an architect.

However, if you would like a high level of customization or have complex needs for your ADU, you may choose to hire an architect. A reputable design build contractor can help you decide whether you need an architect to finish your project. 

Will Building An ADU Raise Your Home's Value?

Some source say building an ADU on your property can raise the value of your home by as much as 20 or 30%. If this is important to you, consider consulting with an experienced real estate professional before building an ADU to find out what you can do to maximize your home's value. 

How Much Does It Cost to Build An ADU?

The cost to build an ADU varies. Generally speaking, plan to spend around $250 per square foot to build your ADU. The types of finishes and features you choose for your ADU will impact the cost. 

Factors to Consider When Building An ADU

When you're thinking about building an ADU, there are many things to consider. 

Yard Space

Most ADUs take up a space that's about 30 feet by 30 feet, which can be a big chunk of your yard. If you have an extra large lot, this may not matter that much to you. If you have a small or standard size lot, placement of the ADU and the dimensions of it will be important to consider, as both will have a big impact on how you'll be able to use your yard in the future. 

Family Matters

If your ADU space is slotted for family members who will be living on your property with you, be sure to have conversations with your family members about how the ADU space will be used. Where will your family members park? Will they pay rent? What if they have guests? If they have a party, how will they accommodate all those cars and people? Having answers to these questions and similar questions can help you decide if an ADU is right for your family. 


What will the ADU look like? While many homeowners choose to build an ADU with a modern aesthetic, it may be that you'd prefer your ADU to match the architectural aesthetic of your home. Work with your contractor to ensure that your ADU is right for your home. 

Ready to Build? Get Started Today

If you're ready to build an ADU on your property, start by contacting contractors in your area. Download the Litchfield Builders free guide to choosing a professional home contractor. 

How to Choose a Professional Home Remodeling Contractor


About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.